Nuclear the cheapest - subsidises renewables‚ says minister

03 September 2015 - 12:46 By Jan-Jan Joubert


Nuclear energy is the cheapest source of energy in South Africa‚ and is subsidising renewable energy‚ says energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Another day of heated parliamentary debate as ministers refused to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the proposed nuclear new build deal.Opposition MPs were blocked by minister after minister in yesterday's parliamentary question session as they tried to get through the obfuscation to the truth about the deal‚ rumoured to be worth R1 trillion - a figure govermnent denies without providing an alternative.First up was DA MP David Maynier‚ who asked finance minister Nhlanhla Nene whether South Africa would abandon its nuclear plans if they proved to be unaffordable.Nene refused to be drawn‚ saying the matter would be handled in the normal budgetary cycle‚ and that Maynier would have to wait until the proposals serve before parliament's portfolio committee on finance.IFP MP Sibonglle Nkomo tried next‚ asking Nene whether the country coyuld afford the nuclear plans‚ but again the minister ducked and dived.He simply assured her that the energy alternatives would be handled in sequence.DA MP Gordon Mackay's efforts to obtain clarity were as unsuccessful. Nene merely said answers would be provided later‚ when processes had been finalised.The EFF's Floyd Shivambu tried to get clarity on the nuclear issue from Environment Minister Edna Molewa‚ to no avail.She claimed nuclear energy was green energy‚ but did admit nuclear waste was a bit of a bother.The only success at obtaining any actual information was attained by ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley‚ who asked Joemat-Pettersson about the relative cost of energy.The energy minister said nuclear cost 38 cents per kilowatt/hour‚ wind power cost 68 cents per kilowatt hour‚ and solar cost R3‚20 per kilowatt hour.Also‚ solar was available only 50% of the time and wind only 35% of the time whereas nuclear and coal were available all the time‚ thus serving as base load energy.Joemat-Pettersson concluded that‚ because of its lower cost‚ nuclear and coal were subsidising renewables in South Africa‚ and that nuclear was the cheapest form of energy.

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